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經濟學人:美國總統特朗普可以凌駕于法律之上嗎?(2)

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Mr Cohen says Mr Trump asked him to make hush-money payments—

科恩表示,特朗普要求他支付保密款項——
something that is not illegal for ordinary citizens,
這對普通公民來說并不違法,
but counts as an undeclared donation when done on behalf of a political candidate, as Mr Trump was at the time.
但在代表一位政治候選人捐款時,就算是一筆未申報的捐款,特朗普時值總統候選人。
So what?
那又怎樣?
After all, America treats breaches of campaign-finance law much more like speeding tickets than burglary:
畢竟,美國對待違反競選資金法更像是對待超速罰單,而不是入室行竊:
they are often the result of filling in a form wrongly, or incorrectly accounting for campaign spending.
認為違反競選資金法通常是錯誤填寫表格的結果,或者是競選經費計算錯誤。
There are good reasons for this indulgent approach.
這種放縱的做法有很好的理由。
When voters elect someone who has bent the rules, it sets up a conflict between the courts and the electorate that is hard to resolve cleanly.
當選民投票給一個違反規則的人時,就會在法院和選民之間引發一場難以干凈利落解決的沖突。
Mr Trump does not stand accused of getting his paperwork wrong, however, but of paying bribes to scotch a damaging story.
特朗普不應因文書工作有誤而被譴責,而應因為行賄抹殺有破壞性的事件被譴責。
That is a far more serious offence,
這是一個嚴重得多的罪行,
and one that was enough to end the career of John Edwards, an aspirant Democratic presidential candidate, when he was caught doing something similar in 2008.
嚴重到足以終結約翰·愛德華茲的政治生涯,這位野心勃勃的民主黨總統候選人,2008年做了類似的事情。
There is no way of knowing if Mr Trump would still have won had the story come out.
如果特朗普的事情被曝光,我們無從知曉他是否仍會贏。
Even so, the possibility that he might not have done raises questions about his legitimacy, not just his observance of campaign-finance laws.
即便如此,他可能并沒有這么做,但僅是可能性也引發了對特朗普合法性的質疑,不僅僅是遵守競選資金法。
What of the convention, which has been in place since the Nixon era, that the Justice Department will not indict a sitting president?
自從尼克松時代以來就存在的慣例是,司法部不會起訴在任總統。
Again, there are good reasons for this.
同樣,這是有充分理由的。
As with breaches of campaign-finance law, such an indictment would set up a conflict between the bureaucracy and the president’s democratic mandate that has no happy ending.
就像違反競選資金法一樣,這樣的起訴將在官僚機構和總統的民主授權之間引發一場兩敗俱傷的沖突。
The convention would doubtless be void if there were credible evidence that a sitting president had, say, committed murder.
如果有可信的證據表明在任總統,比如說,犯了謀殺罪,那么該慣例毫無疑問是無效的。
But the payment of hush money to avoid an inconvenient story about an extramarital affair falls a long way short of that.
但是,為了避免發生婚外情而支付的封口費與此相去甚遠。

law.jpg

The authors of the constitution wanted to allow the president to get on with his job without unnecessary distractions.

美國的憲法起草者們想讓總統在沒有不必要干擾的情況下工作。
But, fresh from a war against King George III, they were very clear that the presidency should not be an elected monarchy.
但是,剛經歷過和英國國王喬治三世的戰爭,他們非常清楚總統不應是民選的君主政體。
If a president does it, that does not make it legal.
如果總統那樣做,就是不合法的。
The constitutional problem that America is heading towards is that the Justice Department’s protocol not to prosecute sitting presidents dates from another age, when a president could be expected to resign with a modicum of honour before any charges were drawn up, as Nixon did.
美國正面臨的憲法問題是,司法部協議不起訴在任總統,這可追溯到另一個時代,在起草任何改變前,總統都被期望帶著一點榮譽退位,正如尼克松所做的那樣。
That norm no longer applies.
這一標準不再適用。
The unwritten convention now says in effect that, if his skin is thick enough, a president is indeed above the law.
現在生效的不成文的慣例是,只要臉皮夠厚,總統確實可以凌駕于法律之上。

譯文由可可原創,僅供學習交流使用,未經許可請勿轉載。

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conflict ['kɔnflikt]

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n. 沖突,矛盾,斗爭,戰斗
vi. 沖突,爭

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campaign [kæm'pein]

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n. 運動,活動,戰役,競選運動
v. 從事運

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illegal [i'li:gəl]

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adj. 不合法的,非法的
n. 非法移民

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heading ['hediŋ]

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n. 標題,題目,航向
動詞head的現在分詞

 
fraud [frɔ:d]

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n. 騙子,欺騙,詐欺

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bent [bent]

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bend的過去式和過去分詞 adj. 下定決心的,彎曲的

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adj. 縱容的,任性的,寬縱的

 
democratic [.demə'krætik]

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adj. 民主的,大眾的,平等的

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modicum ['mɔdikəm]

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n. 少量,一小份

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unnecessary [ʌn'nesisəri]

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adj. 不必要的,多余的

 
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